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Comprehensive Assessment of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT) Conducted and Compiled

Comprehensive Assessment of Strengths, Weaknesses

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Conducted and Compiled
Spring Semester 2016
Appendix B-NMCC SWOT Analysis Guide
Appendix C-The Strategic Planning Process
Appendix D-SWOT Strengths-Comments by Theme
Appendix E-SWOT Weaknesses-Comments by Theme
Appendix F-SWOT Opportunities-Comments by Theme
Appendix G-SWOT Threats-Comments by Theme
In order to provide a foundation to establish strategic goals and work plans for the next several years, the Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) campus community conducted a comprehensive SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. This SWOT analysis, combined with NMCC’s newly revised Mission, Vision, and Core Values statements (Appendix A), will be key item in providing a foundation for the college’s work toward strategic planning and completion of the required Self-Study document required for the institution’s accreditation renewal with New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ (NEASC) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE). Organizational Structure and Participants: NMCC President, Tim Crowley, appointed a five-member committee and presented to the members the task of facilitating a campus-wide SWOT analysis. Members of the committee represented faculty (Steve Caron, Jennifer Graham and Lynne Manion) the Business Office (Michael Williams), and Student Services (Jon Blanchard). To reach the largest segment of NMCC stakeholders and to evaluate and assess campus climate, the committee developed a two- pronged approach—focus groups and a survey. The committee felt it was imperative to give every member of the NMCC community (students, employees and external partners) the opportunity to provide input as a part of the SWOT process. Methodology: The committee determined that a two-pronged strategy was necessary as a means of reaching as many stakeholders as possible. The first prong involved initiating discussion through several focus groups held on campus. Due to scheduling and time constraints, the faculty and staff focus groups were held during the lunch hour. A meal was provided. However, due to faculty teaching schedules, staffing conflicts, and other factors, all stakeholders could not attend the designated focus groups. To alleviate the concern of not having all individuals’ thoughts and comments represented, the committee created a survey which replicated the questions asked during the focus groups sessions. This survey was sent to all NMCC employees. All focus groups followed a similar format:
Each session began with welcoming remarks and an overview of the simple ground rules and process.
A SWOT Analysis Guide (Appendix B) created by the task force, was distributed to all attendees as a point of reference.
The guide contained operational definitions for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Participants were given 4 sets of different colored sticky notes; the participants had 45 minutes to record their thoughts on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing NMCC.
The color coded sticky notes were put on poster-sized papers labeled with one of the 4 major categories of the SWOT process.
A conscious decision was made to have people work independently and not share their thoughts with others. The committee felt strongly that no individual should be swayed by another’s opinion.
Respondents were free to leave once they had finished recording and posting comments under each category.
During the week of January 11, 2016, personal invitations were extended to selected employees asking that they serve on the committee designated to facilitate the campus-wide SWOT process. The committee first convened on January 26, 2016. During this first meeting, the committee defined its goal, created a work schedule to meet the targeted deadline, formalized its objectives, and developed a strategy to solicit campus-wide input. Focus groups and a campus-wide survey were the two modes chosen to obtain input from all involved college stakeholders. Two documents, “The Strategic Planning Process” and “How to Perform a SWOT Analysis (Appendix C), were used to inform committee members in their decision making. After this initial meeting, the SWOT Committee met on a weekly basis. After its second meeting on February 3, 2016, dates and times were finalized for conducting a series of focus groups; it was decided that separate focus groups for each of the 4 main constituent groups would generate the best opportunity for all campus individuals to share their thoughts. The four designated focus groups were students, faculty, staff, and outside stakeholders, including the College’s General Advisory Council.
SWOT Focus Groups were held on the following dates:
Student Focus Groups Monday, February 8, 2016 18 respondents Tuesday, February 9, 2016 13 respondents Thursday, February 11, 2016 (2 groups) 19 respondents Faculty Focus Group Wednesday, February 10, 2016 (11:45 am - 1 pm) 20 respondents Staff Focus Group Thursday, February 18, 2016 (12 pm - 1 pm) 23 respondents College’s General Advisory Council Focus Group Friday, March 4, 2016 (8 am - 9 am) 3 respondents After each focus group, SWOT Committee members compiled the data into lists. These lists were then merged into a master list. From the master list of raw data, committee members generated themes as a means of categorizing the responses. The SWOT Committee met on March 9 to discuss the creation and dissemination of the survey. It was decided that the survey questions would mirror those asked at each focus group and would be distributed to all campus stakeholders. A determination was made that a 5-day window would be provided for survey responses. Instrumental in the formatting and distribution of the survey
to the campus community was Kerrie Watson-Blaisdell, a member of the College’s Development Office staff.
Communication: The dissemination of information pertaining to the SWOT analysis began on January 7, 2016, at a staff and faculty meeting. During this meeting, President Crowley discussed the SWOT process to be undertaken by the college. Two faculty members convened student focus groups in 4 different classes. The dates of the Student Focus Groups are listed above. On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, an email invitation was sent to all faculty members via Outlook for the Faculty Focus Group held on February 10, 2016. Invitations were also submitted, by email, to staff members, inviting them to participate in the Staff Focus Group scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2016. Invitations to participate in a Focus Group for external partners was forwarded by email to members of the College’s General Advisory Council. The Focus Group was held on Friday, March 4, 2016. On Monday, March 14, during an all employee meeting, information about the survey was discussed. At that time, it was mentioned that if you had participated in one of the focus groups, that your participation on the survey was optional. In addition to that public announcement of the upcoming survey, information about the survey was also disseminated via three different emails starting on Monday, March 21, 2016. The initial email, reminded NMCC stakeholders of the purpose of the SWOT analysis and why it was important to have all community members’ voices heard. Embedded in the purpose of the survey, however, was the statement that, while invited to, people who participated in a focus group were not required to complete the survey. The second email, sent out later on the same day included the NMCC SWOT Analysis guide. This guide (Appendix B) provided survey respondents with a breakdown of the inner workings of a SWOT analysis. On Tuesday, March 22, a third email was sent out requesting that campus stakeholders check their “clutter” email folders. Apparently, a portion of the campus community had not received the previous emails discussing the survey and it was discovered that the survey had been stored in some staff members’ “clutter” folders. The purpose of the survey was to provide an avenue for NMCC stakeholders, unable to attend a focus group, an opportunity to participate in the SWOT analysis. The on-line survey consisted of the same four, open ended questions used during the focus groups: 1. What are NMCC's internal strengths? 2. What are some internal weaknesses that NMCC may have? 3. What are possible external opportunities for NMCC? 4. What are some possible external threats to NMCC?
The survey was sent to all NMCC employees, on Monday, March 21, 2016. Respondents had five days to complete the survey. Eighteen responses were returned. Due to anonymity, it is unknown whether or not any of these respondents had also participated in one of the focus groups.
To view all items contributed by participants in either a focus group or through the online survey, please see Appendices D-G. The comments are presented as submitted, including misspellings and grammatical errors.
SWOT Summary of Findings – Strengths
A strength was defined as positive attributes, tangible and intangible, internal to the
organization. Strengths are within the organization’s control. When prompted to identify the
strengths of NMCC, participants were asked to reflect on the College’s internal resources and
capabilities. Participants were prompted with the questions:
1. What do you think are the college’s strengths?
2. What is the college doing well and in which areas is it excelling?
3. What does NMCC do better than other local educational institutions and/or other
community colleges in the state?
4. What positive feedback have you heard about the college from students, employees, or
community members?
A total of 330 items of feedback were provided through focus group and survey responses. These
items were grouped by theme. The strengths presented in this portion of the analysis represent
those categories with the highest number of items. The categories with the highest number of
responses for strengths were the quality of faculty and staff, the college’s academic programs,
the affordability of programs, and the atmosphere on campus.
Quality of Faculty and Staff (53 comments)
Respondents provided 95 items identifying strengths of NMCC’s faculty and staff: 54
items specifically regarding faculty; 19 items specifically regarding staff; and 22 items
combining faculty and staff.
Faculty were identified as being helpful, approachable, and knowledgeable in their
subject areas, easily accessed by students, and committed to student success.
Staff were described as being helpful, professional, and friendly.
Combined faculty and staff comments indicated that faculty and staff make students a
priority and are willing to go “above and beyond” to serve students.
Academic Programming (84 comments)
Participants identified 84 items regarding the college’s academic programs as strengths.
These comments fell into six categories as listed below.
Academic Culture - Respondents provided 26 items reflecting the strength of the
academic culture of NMCC. The majority of the comments in this category highlighted
the small class size and personalized attention given to NMCC students by faculty.
Programming - These 27 items identified the availability of nursing and trade programs as
a strength of the college. Some comments in this category also identified the ability of
NMCC’s programs to meet local employer and industry needs.
The Academic Success Center - The Academic Success Center, with 9 items, was
recognized for providing free tutoring, adaptive equipment, and strong support for
students on campus.
Job placement – Students are made aware of current job opportunities and internships
on a regular basis and student have a high level of success after graduation.
Transfer programs and articulation agreements- Respondents indicated that NMCC has a
high job placement rate for graduates, has a particularly beneficial transfer relationship
with Husson University,
Affordability (31 comments)
The affordability of NMCC was touted as one of the institution’s strengths.
Tuition, specifically, was identified as being reasonably priced. At a cost of $90.00 per
credit hour for in-state students, NMCC and the other Maine Community College System’s
campuses offer the lowest tuition in Maine.
Campus Culture (48 comments)
The campus atmosphere and facilities received a combined total of 73 comments.
The campus atmosphere, a category comprised of 48 comments, identified strengths
ranging from the sense of community, to the friendly atmosphere, to the feeling of being
cared about by others on the campus.
The strength of facilities received 25 comments. Comments were evenly distributed
among the clean and well maintained appearance of the campus, the addition of the
Smith Wellness Center, and the layout and organization of the campus.
*Note: The raw data of responses for the question, related to “What are NMCC's internal strengths?” can be found in Appendix D. Statements followed by a number in parentheses, indicates that the response was given by more than one person.
SWOT Summary of Findings – Weaknesses
Weaknesses were defined as detracting factors, within an organization’s control. A SWOT
analysis example was provided to the participants.
The following four open ended questions were used to engage participants’ thinking about internal weaknesses of the organization:
1. What do you think are its weaknesses? 2. What areas does the college need to focus on improving and in what areas is it struggling? 3. What do other local educational institutions and/or other community colleges in the state
do better than NMCC? 4. What negative or concerning feedback have you heard about the college from students,
employees, or community members? A total of 366 items of feedback were provided through the focus groups and survey responses. These items were grouped by theme. The weaknesses presented in this portion of the analysis, represent those categories with the highest number of items. Culture: (107 comments)
37 comments, identified campus-wide communication as a weakness.
Other responses dealt with student life on campus and the role it plays in developing the
culture of a campus.
Economics: (56 comments)
The responses in this category expressed concern about economics as it relates to the
local area, the college and personal expenses.
Suggestions were made related to possible revenue growth, as well as consideration of
possible efficiency measures.
Facilities: (10 comments)
Respondents identified both academic and residential areas of the college as spaces in
need of updating and/or remodeling.
Employee: (38 comments)
Initial employee orientation was identified as one area for improvement
Ongoing professional development for employees was expressed as a concern
The desire for cross-training employees, where appropriate, was identified as an area for
Inconsistency in the reliability of the internet, especially wifi, were identified by 7
Other comments ranged from needing to update equipment for academic programs to
the formatting of the portal and webpage.
Outreach: (100 comments)
More than one-half of the responses in this category were focused on
admissions/recruiting and marketing/public relations.
Future Opportunities: (28 comments)
One future opportunity that was mentioned was the need for the College to have a long
range plan.
There was also the recommendation for the College to have a child care center on
Sports: (6 comments)
The lack of sports teams and organized athletics were responses in this category.
Other: (4 comments)
The geographical location of the College was a common thread for this category. It is not
readily understood whether the location is only for the local area or if the respondents
are discussing a much broader geographical region.
*Note: The raw data of responses for the questions listed above can be found in Appendix E. Statements followed by a number in parentheses, indicates that the response was given by more than one person.
Summary of Findings – Opportunities
Opportunities were defined as external factors that may have an impact on the future of the
The following two open-ended questions and example served as prompts:
1. What opportunities are present in the external environment that the college could
2. Can you think of ways the college could capitalize on what is happening in the region or
3. Example: Businesses can diversify their products and services to meet the needs of our
aging population.
There were 192 individual comments. Six clearly common themes representing various
opportunities were developed from the raw date. Each of these theme area is outline below:
1. College Programs & Course Offerings (62 Comments)
Additional online & hybrid class offerings-a majority of respondents believe that it is
necessary to have additional online and hybrid class offerings as a means to compete with
other institutions as well as allowing our students alternative schedule models.
Adding course offerings for business and industry (continuing education / non-credit)-
these types of programming were identified as important toward solidifying and
expanding current enrollment. This includes pursuing specialized training to meet the
needs of business.
Several new and modified programs- the modification of current and the introduction of
new programs were offered as a means to keep the College current and responsive to
students. Several examples included healthcare, trades, specialty programs, energy,
manufacturing, technology, etc.
Timing of classes- respondents stated that the timing of classes to include summer,
evening, and online options might be avenues to serving more non-traditional students.
2. College Promotion, Recruitment & External Communications (47 Comments)
Advertising and recruiting expansion inside and outside Aroostook County- Comments on
advertising and recruitment encompassed expanding strategies to other sectors of New
England, Canada, and other foreign countries. Social media and online were suggested as
opportunities to attract students and help to diversify the culture of the campus. In
addition, targeting audiences such as non-traditional students, high schools/technology
centers and alumni were mentioned.
Educating and explaining NMCC offerings-Respondents’ sentiments reflected that a
better job could be done in explaining the various offerings that are available and what
the College is capable of providing to students.
Increasing community awareness and community participation- Respondents stated that
to expand local support, it is imperative that the College increase community awareness
and community participation.
Building and/or strengthening relationships-There was a strong indication that building
and/or strengthening relationships with other colleges and universities, such as the
University of Maine System was an opportunity.
Additional relationships with business and industry- An expansion of internship
opportunities, partnerships, and training agreements might be a result of the
development of additional relationships with business and industry partners.
4. College Personnel & Staff Services (9 Comments)
Grant Writer- There were a few comments about college personnel and staff services such
as using faculty and staff to assist in recruiting and the hiring of a grant writer.
5. College Activities (20 Comments)
Additional opportunities for students- An increase in opportunities for students to
participate in on-campus and off-campus activities was noted. Areas such as sports,
physical activities, fun events, and competitions were mentioned.
Activities on campus for public and community events- Respondents mentioned that to
attract people to campus and to encourage diversity, more public and community events
should be held on campus.
6. Other (16 Comments)
Other thoughts- The other category captured items not otherwise fitting within a noted
*Note: The raw data of responses for the question related to opportunities, can be found in Appendix F. Statements followed by a number in parentheses, indicates that the response was given by more than one person.
Summary of Findings – Threats
A threat was defined as an external entity or force that negatively affects the institution’s interests. The two questions and the example used as prompts were:
1. What threats are presented in the external environment that could negatively impact the college?
2. Can you think of scenarios in which the political, economic, or social environment could pose a threat to the college?
3. Example: The Presque Isle Mall is threatened by being located in an area with a small population and thus less buying power and competition with online retailers.
There were 178 individual comments for threats that clearly followed seven categories. Each category contained themes representing various threats. Each of those categories is summarized below. 1. Population/Geography (52 Comments)
Declining Population – the majority of respondents identified the shrinking population of NMCC’s regular service territory as a threat to NMCC.
Geographical Location – four respondents identified the physical location of the campus as a threat.
2. Competitors (41 comments)
UMPI/UMFK – the majority of respondents identified the University of Maine at Presque Isle and/or the University of Maine at Fort Kent as threats to NMCC.
Online Courses – seven respondents identified “online courses” as a threat. Other Community Colleges – two respondents identified “other community colleges” as
threats. Dual Enrollment – two respondents identified the “dual enrollment” opportunity for high
school students as a threat. 3. Government/Regulations/MCCS System/Funding (36 comments)
State Funding – the majority of respondents identified “state funding” as a threat to NMCC.
Tuition Rates – five respondents identified “flat tuition rates” as a threat to NMCC. Governmental Leadership/Politics – five respondents identified “governmental leadership
or politics” as a threat to NMCC. 4. Attitudes (29 comments)
High Schools/Guidance Counselors –respondents identified “high schools/guidance counselors” encouraging students to attend other institutions as a threat to NMCC.
Perception – five respondents identified an unfavorable “perception” of a community college as a threat to NMCC.
Business as usual– three respondents identified a lack of outside-the-box thinking or a “business as usual” attitude as a threat to NMCC.
5. Economy (21 comments)
Each response made in this category identified a shrinking local economy as a threat to NMCC.
6. Outliers (8 comments)
Outlier comments should not be taken less seriously than comments that were made by multiple respondents. Outlier comments are simply comments that fewer people made. Each outlier comment is listed in the raw data section.
7. Other – may belong in another SWOT category (26 comments)
A number of respondents provided feedback that may belong in another SWOT category. The comments did not appear objectively external in nature. These comments are listed in the raw data section
Note: The raw data for responses to the questions related to opportunities can be found in
Appendix G. Statements followed by a number in parentheses, indicates that the response was
given by more than one person.
Vision Statement: Northern Maine Community College will continue to be a nationally-recognized institution, dedicated to preparing graduates for immediate entry to the workforce or to transfer to four-year colleges or universities.
Mission Statement:
Northern Maine Community College is committed to maintaining its tradition of providing high-quality career and transfer programs that lead to associate degrees, certificates, and specialized training necessary for an educated, skilled and adaptable workforce. Through its affordable programs of study, courses, and specialized-training seminars, the College is a catalyst for economic growth and the development of human potential in all its graduates.
Core Values: The faculty, staff, alumni, and current students of NMCC are committed to the following core values:
STUDENT CENTERED: We offer a learning environment focused on supporting students as they strive toward their individual success.
EXCELLENCE IN LEARNING: We provide quality teaching and learning experiences as a means of promoting life-long learning to all.
DIVERSITY: We promote mutual respect and equality as a means of recognizing and embracing diversity.
SERVICE: We foster excellence in service to the college and the community, including business, industry and society.
INTEGRITY: We subscribe to and promote high standards of ethics and integrity; understanding that they are the foundation upon which our reputation is built.
SUSTAINABILITY: We practice continuous improvement as a means to being relevant to the economy, workforce, environment and future of the college.
The Strategic Planning Process
In today's highly competitive business environment, budget-oriented planning or forecast-based planning methods are insufficient for a large corporation to survive and prosper. The firm must engage in strategic planning that clearly defines objectives and assesses both the internal and external situation to formulate strategy, implement the strategy, evaluate the progress, and make adjustments as necessary to stay on track.
A simplified view of the strategic planning process is shown by the following diagram:
The Strategic Planning Process
Mission and Objectives
The mission statement describes the company's business vision, including the unchanging values and purpose of the firm and forward-looking visionary goals that guide the pursuit of future opportunities.
Guided by the business vision, the firm's leaders can define measurable financial and strategic objectives. Financial objectives involve measures such as sales targets and earnings growth. Strategic objectives are related to the firm's business position, and may include measures such as market share and reputation.
Environmental Scan
The environmental scan includes the following components:
Internal analysis of the firm Analysis of the firm's industry (task environment) External macro-environment (PEST analysis)
The internal analysis can identify the firm's strengths and weaknesses and the external analysis reveals opportunities and threats. A profile of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is generated by means of a SWOT analysis
An industry analysis can be performed using a framework developed by Michael Porter known as Porter's five forces. This framework evaluates entry barriers, suppliers, customers, substitute products, and industry rivalry.
Strategy Formulation
Given the information from the environmental scan, the firm should match its strengths to the opportunities that it has identified, while addressing its weaknesses and external threats.
To attain superior profitability, the firm seeks to develop a competitive advantage over its rivals. A competitive advantage can be based on cost or differentiation. Michael Porter identified three industry-independent generic strategies from which the firm can choose.
Strategy Implementation
The selected strategy is implemented by means of programs, budgets, and procedures. Implementation involves organization of the firm's resources and motivation of the staff to achieve objectives.
Evaluation & Control
The implementation of the strategy must be monitored and adjustments made as needed.
Evaluation and control consists of the following steps:
1. Define parameters to be measured 2. Define target values for those parameters 3. Perform measurements 4. Compare measured results to the pre-defined standard 5. Make necessary changes
How to perform a SWOT analysis
The SWOT analysis is a valuable step in your situational analysis. Assessing your firm’s
strengths, weaknesses, market opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis is a very
simple process that can offer powerful insight into the potential and critical issues affecting a
The SWOT analysis begins by conducting an inventory of internal strengths and weaknesses in
your organization. You will then note the external opportunities and threats that may affect the
organization, based on your market and the overall environment. Don’t be concerned about
elaborating on these topics at this stage; bullet points may be the best way to begin. Capture the
factors you believe are relevant in each of the four areas. You will want to review what you have
noted here as you work through your marketing plan. The primary purpose of the SWOT
analysis is to identify and assign each significant factor, positive and negative, to one of the four
categories, allowing you to take an objective look at your business. The SWOT analysis will be a
useful tool in developing and confirming your goals and your marketing strategy.
Some experts suggest that you first consider outlining the external opportunities and threats
before the strengths and weaknesses. Marketing Plan Pro will allow you to complete your SWOT
analysis in whatever order works best for you. In either situation, you will want to review all four
areas in detail.
Strengths describe the positive attributes, tangible and intangible, internal to your organization.
They are within your control. What do you do well? What resources do you have? What
advantages do you have over your competition?
You may want to evaluate your strengths by area, such as marketing, finance, manufacturing,
and organizational structure. Strengths include the positive attributes of the people involved in
the business, including their knowledge, backgrounds, education, credentials, contacts,
reputations, or the skills they bring. Strengths also include tangible assets such as available
capital, equipment, credit, established customers, existing channels of distribution, copyrighted
materials, patents, information and processing systems, and other valuable resources within the
Strengths capture the positive aspects internal to your business that add value or offer you a
competitive advantage. This is your opportunity to remind yourself of the value existing within
your business.
Note the weaknesses within your business. Weaknesses are factors that are within your control
that detract from your ability to obtain or maintain a competitive edge. Which areas might you
Weaknesses might include lack of expertise, limited resources, lack of access to skills or
technology, inferior service offerings, or the poor location of your business. These are factors
that are under your control, but for a variety of reasons, are in need of improvement to
effectively accomplish your marketing objectives.
Weaknesses capture the negative aspects internal to your business that detract from the value you
offer, or place you at a competitive disadvantage. These are areas you need to enhance in order
to compete with your best competitor. The more accurately you identify your weaknesses, the
more valuable the SWOT will be for your assessment.
Opportunities assess the external attractive factors that represent the reason for your business to
exist and prosper. These are external to your business. What opportunities exist in your market,
or in the environment, from which you hope to benefit?
These opportunities reflect the potential you can realize through implementing your marketing
strategies. Opportunities may be the result of market growth, lifestyle changes, resolution of
problems associated with current situations, positive market perceptions about your business, or
the ability to offer greater value that will create a demand for your services. If it is relevant, place
timeframes around the opportunities. Does it represent an ongoing opportunity, or is it a window
of opportunity? How critical is your timing?
Opportunities are external to your business. If you have identified “opportunities”• that are
internal to the organization and within your control, you will want to classify them as strengths.
What factors are potential threats to your business? Threats include factors beyond your control
that could place your marketing strategy, or the business itself, at risk. These are also external –
you have no control over them, but you may benefit by having contingency plans to address
them if they should occur.
A threat is a challenge created by an unfavorable trend or development that may lead to
deteriorating revenues or profits. Competition – existing or potential – is always a threat. Other
threats may include intolerable price increases by suppliers, governmental regulation, economic
downturns, devastating media or press coverage, a shift in consumer behavior that reduces your
sales, or the introduction of a “leap-frog”• technology that may make your products, equipment,
or services obsolete. What situations might threaten your marketing efforts? Get your worst fears
on the table. Part of this list may be speculative in nature, and still add value to your SWOT
It may be valuable to classify your threats according to their “seriousness” and “probability of
The better you are at identifying potential threats, the more likely you can position yourself to
proactively plan for and respond to them. You will be looking back at these threats when you
consider your contingency plans.
The internal strengths and weaknesses, compared to the external opportunities and threats, can
offer additional insight into the condition and potential of the business. How can you use the
strengths to better take advantage of the opportunities ahead and minimize the harm that threats
may introduce if they become a reality? How can weaknesses be minimized or eliminated? The
true value of the SWOT analysis is in bringing this information together, to assess the most
promising opportunities, and the most crucial issues.
An example
AMT is a computer store in a medium-sized market in the United States. Lately it has suffered
through a steady business decline, caused mainly by increasing competition from larger office
products stores with national brand names. The following is the SWOT analysis included in its
marketing plan.
1. Knowledge. Our competitors are retailers, pushing boxes. We know systems, networks,
connectivity, programming, all the Value Added Resellers (VARs), and data
2. Relationship selling. We get to know our customers, one by one. Our direct sales force
maintains a relationship.
3. History. We’ve been in our town forever. We have the loyalty of customers and vendors.
We are local.
1. Costs. The chain stores have better economics. Their per-unit costs of selling are quite
low. They aren’t offering what we offer in terms of knowledgeable selling, but their cost
per square foot and per dollar of sales are much lower.
2. Price and volume. The major stores pushing boxes can afford to sell for less. Their
component costs are less and they benefit from volume buying with the main vendors.
3. Brand power. Take one look at their full-page advertising, in color, in the Sunday paper.
We can’t match that. We don’t have the national name that flows into national
1. Local area networks. LANs are becoming commonplace in small businesses, and even in
home offices. Businesses today assume LANs are part of normal office work. This is an
opportunity for us because LANs are much more knowledge and service intensive than
the standard off-the-shelf PC.
2. The Internet. The increasing opportunities of the Internet offer us another area of strength
in comparison to the box-on-the-shelf major chain stores. Our customers want more help
with the Internet and we are in a better position to give it to them.
3. Training. The major stores don’t provide training, but as systems become more
complicated with LAN and Internet usage, training is more in demand. This is
particularly true of our main target markets.
4. Service. As our target market needs more service, our competitors are less likely than
ever to provide it. Their business model doesn’t include service, just selling the boxes.
1. The computer as appliance. Volume buying and selling of computers as products in
boxes, supposedly not needing support, training, connectivity services, etc. As people
think of the computer in those terms, they think they need our service orientation less.
2. The larger price-oriented store. When they have huge advertisements of low prices in the
newspaper, our customers think we are not giving them good value.
Leveraging the insight the SWOT analysis can bring is time well invested.
written by Tim Berry of Palo Alto Software http://www.paloalto.com
What do you think are its strengths?
What is the college doing well and in which areas is it excelling?
What does NMCC do better than other local educational institutions and/or other community colleges in the state?
What positive feedback have you heard about the college from students, employees, or community members?
Take advantage of OPPORTUNITIES Think about NMCC and its external environment – e.g. political, economic, and social.
What opportunities are present in the external environment that the college could pursue?
Can you think of ways the college could capitalize on what is happening in the region or state?
Example: Businesses can diversify their products and services to meet the needs of our aging population
Resolve WEAKNESSES Think about NMCC and its internal resources and capabilities.
What do you think are its weaknesses?
What areas does the college need to focus on improving and in what areas is it struggling?
What do other local educational institutions and/or other community colleges in the state do better than NMCC?
What negative or concerning feedback have you heard about the college from students, employees, or community members?
Avoid THREATS Think about NMCC and its external environment – e.g. political, economic, and social.
What threats are present in the external environment that could negatively impact the college?
Can you think of scenarios in which the political, economic, or social environment could pose a threat to the college?
Example: The Presque Isle mall is threatened by being located in an area with a small population and thus less buying power, and competition with online retailers.
NMCC is in the process of conducting a SWOT analysis to gather feedback and input from stakeholders. This
information will be used to help develop a strategic plan for the college as well as to prepare for upcoming
NEASC accreditation. Please think carefully about what you perceive to be the college’s Strengths, Weaknesses,
Opportunities, and Threats. Use the chart below to help focus your understanding of what kinds of observations
fit in which category.
Appendix D
Faculty dedicated to student success
Strong faculty who care about students and their learning
Trained and highly motivated instructors that are well connected to their individual industries
Great instructors
Faculty members are always friendly in the hall.
Very good teachers
Most teachers here seem to really want to help students succeed in school
Instructors are easy to talk to.
Very friendly and instructors are willing to help students well beyond the required.
Helpful teachers and engaged class
Instructors are easy to contact
Teachers are really awesome!
Instructors are very kind
Teachers provide helpful information
Professors are like friends. They will push you when you need it but will also be understanding.
Most teachers don’t want you to fail
Work great with students; able to provide one on one help. Beneficial to kids who struggle with school unlike universities. Students matter here and aren’t just a number.
Teachers really care; meeting our needs with help, questions, and even basic emotional stress college or non-college related.
Great faculty members
Very helpful faculty members
Teachers are willing to help students over email, in person, etc.; they are also friendly; and accommodating.
Teach students really well
Always positive faculty
Every teacher is always willing to help, especially working in study groups
Good teaching ideas.
Teachers are always available
Teachers are always willing to help, even when we aren’t in school.
Teachers are extremely helpful and willing to assist students when they need help.
Educators who strive for student success
Faculty interaction with students
Faculty organized meetings i.e. Faculty Association is necessity
Great technical depth to instructors
Faculty knowledge
Dedicated faculty
Instructors involvement
Committed Faculty (2)*
Program choices that fit community needs (also appears in the General Academic section)
Faculty commitment to students
Have some great instructors
Well trained faculty
Instructor availability to students
STAFF (19)
Experienced employees who are vested in the student and college success
[Staff name omitted] bringing students to campus and faculty to tech centers
[Staff name omitted] making follow ups to potential students
Community, staff, and their continuity year to year
A good relationship between our staff and students
Employees – very helpful
Staff is helpful
Excellent staff
Staff and employees at NMCC go above and beyond for their students.
Staff is very helpful and professional
Friendly staff
Good employees
Helping students when asked – several times students have said how much more helpful we are
Staff with talents and abilities which should be utilized instead of outsourcing. Outsourcing kills us in costs.
A lot of experience in staff personnel use it!!
Great teachers and staff
People are NMCC’s greatest strength – value them. Tell them when they do well. A thank you card or a personal visit goes a long way…
Long-time committed faculty and staff who are familiar with NMCC’s culture and academic programs. This has also provided continuity.
Personnel who have and take time/energy to support students
Intelligent staff/faculty
Good people
Intelligent people
Creative, cost minded people
Its dedicated faculty and staff
Human resources (Staff/Faculty) – people who are dedicated to serving our “customer” by providing quality service, instruction, leadership, mentoring, etc.
There’s a wealth of knowledge among those employed by NMCC. The varying backgrounds and experiences offer an opportunity for the college to become more responsive to needs of a growing workforce.
Hire good faculty staff
Dedication of employees – staff & faculty – some are nationally recognized – others are best in their field locally
NMCC faculty + staff make it a priority to do the best they can to help a student succeed
Caring and professional faculty and staff
Faculty & staff
Employee/instructor dedication
Strengths are areas where faculty/staff go above + beyond to cater to our students and their needs
The people who work here
Veteran work force
Teachers 1 on 1
Student to instructor ratio
Good assignments
Smaller classroom size means each student gets more attention and the ASC is extremely helpful.
Personalized teaching
Teacher to student ratio is extremely beneficial to individual students.
Small class size
Beyond classroom assistance
As an instructor I have much freedom to write curriculum
Small classes (2)*
Quality education
Work closely with students
Accessibility to instructors and additional resources such as the tutoring center
Programming (27)
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Strength of programs offered
Quick/effective degree programs
Trade programs meet a lot of the local demands of employers.
A good selection of degree programs.
Offers trade courses – electrical, auto tech, etc.
Windmill program
Good programs
Up – to – date curriculum
Committed faculty Program choices that fit community needs (also appears in the Faculty section)
To-the-point programs
Programs: Current programs meet the needs of industry, although there is always room to add more. We should not be cutting.
Viewed as proactive and nimble with new programs & courses
Excelling in auto
Variety in courses
Variety of classes
Practical programs
Opportunity for student to access Academic success center
ASC and student tutoring program – this is critically important and our program likely is nationally significant
Provides one on one tutoring for struggling students
ASC offerings of dragon speak, livescribe, tablets, laptops and tutors are great
The student success center
Job Placement (7)
Good job placement for trades
Preparing graduates for good jobs
Hi job/graduate placement rate
Graduates have/get jobs
Students at NMCC are made aware of current job opportunities and internships on a regular basis.
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Placing graduates in jobs
Classes transfer easily to Husson.
Ability to transfer credits for 4-year degree
Scheduling (4)
Customized schedules
Classes, times
Outreach/online programs
Proven track record of providing valuable education to meet the needs of business community
Successful alumni
You have some great employees but the bad may outweigh the good. Student see this and are effective by this. When you encounter a bad employee they see it and don’t want to return to NMCC because of it.
If I was a new student and received an email asking to be a part of the NMCC employee selling products for his or her self and wanted the student to sell for them. What would you do? We may have some internal strengths what are they, I don’t see a lot of it.
Great gym and Academic Success Center.
Wellness Center
Beautiful gym
Condition/Appearance (7)
Clean facility
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Facility is clean/well maintained
Smaller layout offers an easier to navigate type of education.
Access to student success (business dept. admissions, financial aid location)
Miscellaneous (6)
Great campus
The conference rooms in the library provide places to study
Sufficient classroom space
Lab upgrades for some programs
Wellness center is offered to everyone at reasonable prices.
Most funding is available to students and there are plenty of scholarships too.
Scholarship offerings
Great TRIO program
Resources are very open to helping
Good resources
Appointments are set for you to meet with someone about future goals.
Library – top notch people with top notch skills! Resources, programs
Student engagement activities
Low cost
Affordable (2)
Affordable programs
Low tuition rates
Cost effective education
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Cost of tuition
Price is a plus
Cost of attendance is low
Low tuition cost
Students often say how well they are treated at NMCC
Willingness to work with students to help them succeed
Small and can provide a personal touch to students
The student is our focus
Communication (2)*
Friendly atmosphere.
NMCC actually cares for its students. They treat the students like they matter compared to UMPI where it seems like all they want is their money.
Small college, better communication between student/teachers/staff
Student focused
Our trade-tech monthly meetings keep us abreast of each other & other campus activities, or initiatives i.e. Administration
A good health/wellness emphasis by administration
“Caring Community” student centered
Communication between departments and amongst departments
Care, concerned people
Small, personable environment
Institutional grit
Locality to town
Hosting community events
Serving the needs of the community- work force
Having events take place at the college
Responsive to our community
Meet local needs
Reputation of quality
Strong reputation
Use of technology to help reduce costs
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As an instructor I can have “office visits” at any time as needed- I need to be the student’s “Advisor”
Location in Aroostook is central for student to travel
Strong foundation to raise $
Frugality and ability to balance budgets
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Appendix E
Economics: (56) Tuition cost
Programs being cut. Future of the college?
Chasing the next big grant instead of taking care of what we already have
Unneeded titles for raises
Too many one person programs
Encourage (don’t) for them to come back to widen the opportunities & marketing
Constant battle for fair wage increases
Mixed up financial priorities
Shutting down viable programs
Lack of $$
Funding Funding Funding
Decreased enrollment
Not keeping the community needs first (i.e. as money down, programs leave)
Canadian students
Providing programs that could help our local economy expand
Putting money into the wrong areas
Books are too expensive (2)
Every semester we should be given $10 copy money
Taking 4 weeks to give refund checks forces students to utilize expensive books at bookstore.
Receiving financial aid 5 weeks after school starts is a weakness! It does not allow students the option to cut back on work to be able to focus on school. I need to be able to provide for my family so during the first month of school, work comes first!
Tuition rate is not keeping up with costs of offering courses
Lack of scholarships for international students
Cost of books is out of control (2)
Fewer dollars budget problems
No opportunity (possibly by lack of funds) for training on new software, reporting requirements, etc.
Our reliance on individual printers when larger multifunction units shared across groups are more cost Effective
Budget concerns
Library needs to be open longer
Hours of the gym should be later to make available for everyone
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Planning - It's unclear how long-term planning, such as capital equipment upgrades, facility upgrades, and like items can/will be accomplished with ongoing budget challenges.
Grant Writing - The lack of grant writing personnel - someone specifically assigned the duty of grant writer there are countless opportunities to secure funding via state and federal grants ........
Lean support staffing.
Revenue issues that cannot not support the ever changing environment
$$$$$$$$$ available
Location in a rural declining population area
Budget constraints due to system board of trustees reticence to allow a modest increase in tuition and fees leading to difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified instructors and in funding program offerings
Facilities: (10) Lack of updated or expanded lack space
Colors in buildings
Dorms are lackluster
No map of school (where classes are) in lobby of school
Not enough parking
Small narrow desks
Outdated residence facilities
Appearance of some of the academic class rooms and buildings are in need of renovations and upgrades
Employee: (38)
Over staffed in areas
Management by intimidation
No faculty Mentor (2-4 weeks) for new faculty
Low morale of staff/faculty
Cross train
Some teachers are not involved in helpin students
Limited staff
Maybe teach all teachers how to handle all learning styles, visually and more hands on
Some faculty need to be able to accommodate special needs better
Select teachers who are not willing to adjust and help students to be academically successful
Some teachers with bigger classes, teach to fast
Not being more active when presenting lectures
Not all teachers are on campus
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Have teachers that know what they teach and not seem so “scatterbrained” about it making students just about teach themselves.
Lack of professional development opportunities
Lack of proper training with internal systems
Cross-training (2)
Aging workforce
Teacher mentors
Staffing placement
Lack of on-line class training
I have a class where the teacher only reads out of the book and I’m having trouble keeping my attention
more faculty development is needed in helping weaker faculty members
Communication from Academic dean to instructors.
When someone is absent, difficult to support that absence, services of that position often cease or are limited until person returns.
Wrong people in key positions.
Too much of "it's not my job" instead of cross-training which presents a unified look to others and makes one a more valuable employee. Saves time for students too!
Possible large retirement numbers in a short period of time.
Are all people in the right roles
Are we employee heavy?
Accountability (3)
First impression to proposed and new student and even family
Silos (2)
Need to work as one
Willing to go to next level, try something new i.e. programs
Sharing of information regularly to all
Communication (3)
Communication Internal & external
Culture (3)
That not my job, you have to wait until he/she arrives back next week
Communication w/ and among management and staff
Uncertainty what each department is responsible for
Getting students motivated to get involved/take advantage of opportunities
Micro management
Departmental turf wars
Internal communication: don’t have a sense of what is happening on all levels
Communication between faculty and management
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not much to do on campus
I don’t know many people up here
A set demographic group
Attracting young students
Not much to do outside of the classroom for activities that are geared toward “college age” students.
Having a dry campus coupled with a less than desirable dorm experience drives students to other colleges and off campus housing.
It would be nice to have clubs such as music, dance or drama. UMPI has a great dance club team
Offer more on campus activities
Having more clubs or reasons for students to get together.
I would like to see pre organized study groups
Not enough communication about services – emergency loans, car repair for low price
I do not like how most EVERYTHING is done/submitted online…I realize we have to stay current w/technology, but NMCC should offer a free class helping students that are not technology savvy. A more pro-active than re-active approach
Stuck in the past
Community college stigma – somehow less than a university
Customer service (to other dept.’s)
We need to increase communication to support each department in their tasks
Internal communication (2)
Employees not knowing what happening on campus – events, hiring, firing, everything is hush hush but hear through
“We’ve always done it this way”
Different departments cannot get along with each other or get along with their own departments
Communication issues throughout campus (specifically between offices)
Disconnect between admissions and faculty on responsibilities for enrollment (whose job is it to increase enrollment?)
Lack of internal news/communication
Fear of change (2)
Communication – lack of accountability
Broad understanding of NMCC
Sense of team
Our registration & billing practices are not friendly to businesses who want to send employees
Lack of communication – everyone feels like a mushroom!
Employees of NMCC being rude to students (administrative employees)
External communication
Admissions talk about all programs not just 1 or 2
Communication campus wide!!
More customer friendly
Losing/declining employee/staff personal touch – few put extra time or effort to assist student/potential student
Communication between departments
Lack of connection between departments
Trade & Tech is being stereotyped in high schools a place to put the "non-college prep" students, and the students who struggle.
The college does not tout the trades programs as a place for brightminds, innovative things, and talented individuals.
"Blue collar" work should not be viewed as what you do if you can't do anything else.
Communication - information critical to long term planning is limited to a select few. Decisions, rather than ideas, are shared.
Not so good internal communications.
communication, communications & communication. This has been a problems for a very long time
The old school techniques of simply producing a press release is not the most effective technique for increasing awareness.
Communication, communication, communication.
Documentation of policies and procedures.
communication ( When a student emails me, I let them know that I received the email. Even if it is to say Thank you)
We do not communicate between programs and offices as well as we could.
Lack of communication from administration.
Communication silos.
Checklist of tasks- ex. custodian. Need Consistency
Poor planning, always leading to undo stress and finger pointing and mistakes.
Lots of wasted time. Lean and modern processes would lend to higher production and less avenues for mistakes.
People need to get out from behind their desks and explore opportunities beyond the edge of it.
An opportunity is learning to manage up. It demonstrates support for and understanding of each others responsibilities.
I see the new person doing all the work.
Long-term faculty and staff who may not always adjust to needed changes.
We need to draw the students and give them a great first impression
I don’t think all employees know what we have
Afraid to innovate?
Technology: (7)
Technology- portal to cumbersome- not user friendly for staff or students
Ability (lack there of) to text students/communicate with them electronically
Lack of online classes
Bad wifi
Programs need to be adjusted to keep up with changing technology. (2)
Format of student portal & webpage (too difficult to find information) information not displayed in an easy to follow format
Poor use of technological avenues
Wifi “deadzones”
Behind at offering new technology, ex., Smart Boards in the classroom
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Too many different “solutions” each department use different software and products when a single one can be chosen across multiple departments
DH shop + RN lab have out of date equipment – not appealing to students
Outreach: (100)
Admissions process (2)
Marketing (2)
Recruiting (2)
Need a wider reach to recruitment
Career opportunities are available but we need more students
Admissions process (time, info to students, listening to students)
Continuing Ed (As an application tool, price for quality)
Lack of understanding by admissions of my trade/curriculum
Better recruitment activities (To Canada & “Down State”)
Offering classes & then pulling them without alternate class options
Admissions process & practice
Lack of publicity
Events could be better publicized
Recruitment promoting the school
Communication: Every committee should be required to distribute minutes for every meeting held
Barriers in admissions process
Deadlines – NEASC, strategic plan, etc. done too close to due dates
Admission process slow
Follow up constantly with potential students, keep them on the hook and feeling good
Recruitment needs to include experts in the respective fields
Advertisement (3)
Gave me no opportunity to sign up for classes
Inconsistent publicity
Food in café needs to improve
Gross meals
Food needs healthier choices
Relying on too much on-line and hybrid; my ethic class all on-line and it should have had classroom time
The food really hasn’t been that good.
Not enough advertisement
They have better marketing (team up more proactive with UMPI and Husson for what classes transfer)
Have detailed outline of pre req and req for all courses on the course outlines for students
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Focusing on students, to help succeed.
Improving the degrees being offered.
Lowering acceptance rates for the in-demand nursing program. Nursing applicants are evaluated in a competitive manner, rather than individually. UMFK evaluates nursing applicants individually and still has a high success rate. More students = more profit.
Curriculum changes – too many; not timely communication to all parties
Lack of evening classes
Need to focus more on hands-on trades
Lack of ACTION on many previous ideas
Getting students to come to school here
Lack of IT resources & staff to develop on line programming for classes
Need more marketing, advertising
No presence in statewide media
Not having a yearly course schedule available at least a year in advance (this is ongoing)
New teacher orientation
New teacher from w/force need education in teaching methods + teaching materials
Difficulty for guests to access wireless
Very little media coverage
Ineffective admissions – students often placed in wrong classes – unambitious recruitment
Listen to student needs; for they have a lot of great ideas
Market our programs more all over Maine to get word out
Limited community and college activities results in disconnect between college/community
Consistency among offices
No advertising or marketing of any programs
Reach out to students that apply to NM
Non-proactive/aggressive recruiting/admissions + follow up!!
Not placing students in classes based on accuplacer scores therefore there is a high rate of students dropping classes because they are not prepared
Enrollment managed on a regular basis (weekly) instead of when there is a crisis.
In previous years there appears to have been a lack of direction and organization in the recruiting and admissions process.
Often there is a concern/problem that needs to be resolved that is happening in different areas – while the department chairs may be aware of this, I don’t believe faculty are – we should work together to make the best learning environment for students
Recruiting doesn't appear to be reaching the numbers of students necessary to continue growth of the college.
Some programs are still the "best kept secrets" in the County and Maine.
We need to have a presence at each of the high schools in the County and Tech Centers.
We need this approach for high schools and tech centers throughout the state.
We need to ensure recruiting receives funds and personnel necessary to fulfill their function otherwise the college will fail
Poor customer service, technologically behind, lack of focus on the "star" programs.
Bad recruitment from young staff with no knowledge of existing programs.
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Unsuccessful marketing strategies that haven't been done in the last 3 or 4 years.
Public relations department: specifically the lack of an actual social media presence, making an account does not equate to managing your social media.
Something has to be done about placement of students in the wrong math class; this may be because students are signing up for classes without advising or meeting with their advisor.
Advertising needs to be stepped up all over the state.
We do not have a strong advising system on this campus: students need to be told that they MUST meet with advisors and no one else to sign up for classes- strengthen ADVISING more programs need to be developed for this college:
I feel our recruitment of students is not the best .
We need to do a better job at accepting students when they apply.
Covert activities conducted by administration.
Customer service is weak. Internally & to our customers.
Why don't we promote our instructors more, like when they receive awards, have a local vendor/business visit their students or take students on a field trip to a business which enhances the students learning scope, or do good deeds in our communities.
Not all instructors remember to contact PR: PR needs to get out and about more.
Word might now be “out” about value
Marketing of offerings (particularly non-credit)
Non-aggressive admissions marketing and promotion procedures allowing prospective students to enroll at other institutions
Future/Opportunities: (28)
Long range plan! Is needed
Opportunity for students to gain credit/or grade points for regular wellness activity we document in Wellness Center
New Programs: New programs should be created to meet the needs like agriculture & media
2 + 2 programs
Lack of a 2,3, or 5 year plan
Create programs that you have classes already for
Lack of clear plan for the future- creates uncertainty and affects morale of employees
Don’t offer a wide variety of courses
unwillingness to try new things because we think we know the outcome
not many programs are up to date technology for their field
No engineering degrees
Childcare would be good
Not too many courses offered
Only offer 2 year programs. Causes students to go farther away.
Some students are only available certain days and the classes they need may not be offered.
Directed study offered before 30 credits should be considered
No child care program
Each program should have a mandatory internship. Knowledge is more useful when put into an actual work setting.
Events/activities to bring people to our campus
Activities – staff & student
Carpentry – students should learn more handicap accessible needs (i.e. ramps)
Not enough class slots for nursing program
Online and evening courses are severely lacking
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Need more online classes
Limited succession planning.
Need sports
No sports
Location; far from things
Appendix F
College Programs & Course Offerings (62) Increase business and industry offerings
Online classes
Utilize students- Help more on campus i.e. Have auto students work on school vehicles and sheet metal build duct work as needed
Good/additional new programs
Host outside/extra training for industry
New Programs not offered locally
Mini classes at the mall
Continued need for graduates from healthcare programs (current & projected Nursing shortage)
Tailor course offerings to meet local needs
Online education is becoming popular, could NM offer more?
Using more online classes!!!
More online classes
Cater to non-traditional student that wants that degree (nights & weekends classes to fulfill a degree)
Pre-Apprenticeship Trades Program” which was a one-year certificate program that exposed students to every trade
Clinicals to learn more
There are shortages in nurses and if larger classes were introduced, the shortages won’t be so severe in the future
Coding classes
Cheaper than most colleges
Expand online programs
Perhaps offer cancer registrar – only four programs in the entire USA
Focus on better schedules for students and offering new types of education like hands-on and travel.
Fast track development of programs for up and coming industry
Renewable energy
Providing a wide range of health care related courses.
Shortage of RN’s and other medical professionals. Could open up more slots in programs for students pursuing these careers.
More CED classes
Dual enrollment opportunities for HS students can be expanded
We can specialize in shorter term training for some industry / trade areas not 2 yr. degree, but more certificate / non credit
Have local contractors visit trade programs (classes / students)
Online course offerings where applicable
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ISO New England’s call for expanded wind & solar production for So. New England could be big (EMERA & CMP involved)
With online courses we can reach a much larger audience
Do a food sustainability program
Pinpoint & offer specialized training for existing local job market
More courses offered for HS students after 3:00 and on Saturdays and / or online
Expand programs based on employer needs
Political push for training in trades / manufacturing
What about sports / fitness management program to go with new gym
More CED presence
New programs in conjunction with hospitals (i.e. surgical tech, CAN/MA cert, Imaging Tech, Patient Accounts, etc.)
Gaming program: applicable to recreation, govt military strategies
Majority of new jobs in the business sector over the next 20 years will be 2 year technological degree type jobs
Innovative program offerings
Increasing alternative course offerings by expanding into more hybrid and online course offerings.
We need to look at expanding industries in Maine. These industries provide opportunities for our related programs to expand and provide the working relationships necessary to fulfill out goal of support the Maine Workforce.
Expanding industrial opportunities regionally – woodlands, wind, rail
Industry Training – we lack the presence we once had with regional industry, in providing customized training and skills upgrade.
Expansion of adult education department to include things of interest. Cooking, self-defense, hunter/gun safety, pilot introduction, knitting, meditations, beer making? The department is so underutilized compared to what its potential could really be.
Offering industry training through CE dept.
Student Internships-working with future employer of our graduates
Not providing enough opportunities with CED
Expand CED training – maybe reorganize that area
More online
Weekend classes
Advertise outside of Aroostook County
Wellness Center Advertisement locally
What NMCC does great “Toot horn” need to do more
More students
Virtual Presence: Admissions could do online school visits, Advertising online through regular used apps like Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Online education: needs to be advertised on internet
Canadian students
Electronic communication (Apps/Automated email)
Advertising via involvements
Market value added certification for local businesses (i.e OSHA updates, etc)
Advertise at high schools---stress the price
Pitch to older students who may want to return to school and may feel overwhelmed
Send extremely successful past NM students to college fairs
Send current students to talk to seniors
Many alumni have a successful job or business. Get together and ask their thoughts. Many alumni are involved with community businesses and should be utilized to promote college.
Market to outside regions (low tuition huge draw)
Reach out to market to Parents as Scholars (PAS) program (DHHS)
NMCC could show more of its caring side by getting involved more. Make it known about the good service. Don’t depend on just word of mouth.
Have a more diverse cultural feel, like Thomas College hangs flags of different countries that their students are from
More advertising downstate
Educate high school students earlier about college goals
To engage high school students that are undecided about college & see if they may be interested in a trade
Extending our reach to N.B. and all of New England
Non-traditional students looking for skills that will improve position in workforce need non-traditional education like offsite or online course and / or after hours
Communicate who we are, what we do
We need to be visible in the community
Communicate who we are and what we are doing
Local community support of our campus to increase programs
Reach out more to the opportunities right here in Aroostook County
Increase public awareness of transfer & articulation opportunities
Online expansion
Need to AGGRESSIVELY promote the college throughout New England as a student friendly, economical center of education excellence
Concentrated recruiting efforts to our neighboring high schools and into Canada to increase enrollment in our programs.
We need to reach out beyond Aroostook County to attract students into our programs to keep increasing the number of students enrolled in our programs.
We continue to look south when it comes to recruiting students. We have a significant population to our north, which could benefit from our products & services (Grand Falls, Edmundston, and surrounding areas).
Loyal students, we have former students that were happy with NMCC, that bring family and friends to our college because they loved it here when they came.
We need to do more ads and articles about the college. There are over 14 ways to communicate to students, are we using all of the avenues to communicate with students and employees? Getting info out to students and employees is important, we lack on this, or this is a great weakness.
We need to recruit South of Bangor, both students and businesses.
Why aren’t our CED and Development/Advancement folks working together in advancing relationship and to explore opportunities.
Exploring other populations to serve
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Share NMCC’s success stories
External Relationships & Agreements (38) Relationship building with (Businesses, colleges, high schools, universities, NMDC)
Build relationships with colleges and universities 2 + 2
Connect w/ community events and agencies
Work with UMPI & UMFK
Partnership with high schools and tech centers
Excellent “service” Partnerships
Internships with businesses
More partnership promotion
Nursing agreement w/ UMFK before Maine adopts 4 year requirement, sooner than after the fact
Tap into home schooling community? NM is a good “first place” for homeschooled students
Build stronger relationships w/ places like Job Corps, MSSM. Etc
Build relationships w/ big companies. Precision metals is already doing so, more of.
High schools are pushing grads to 4 year programs. We need to show them a 2 year degree is an alternative.
Transferrable credits
More association with the Gauvins and their scholarships.
Local business leaders respect college and its graduates.
Work more closely with guidance counselors
Educate guidance counselors more
Develop, cultivate and maintain relationships with in-state, out of state, and international contacts
New Maine Futures program is seeking business / institutions to collaborate on developing 3 specific trade industries. $$$ is available to develop training
Collaboration @ community partners
Partnerships with businesses (retraining)
Explore synergies with UMaine System and negotiate with UMaine System to have exclusivity on certain programs of study where we have shown to be centers of excellence
Building relationships with guidance counselors to support students applying to NM for programs other than trades.
Partnerships with area high schools
Partnerships with colleges
Partner with businesses to meet training needs. Add certifications that give value to people already in the workforce. Look at trade and tech programs and see if some of the certifications classes can be opened to general enrollment or offered separately for non- matriculating students.
We need to develop better relationships with businesses.
Community collaborations & community support
State organizations supporting the initiative to encourage college education/training.
CED and community relationship, we should be busting at the seams
Build relationships with High Schools
Build relationships with other colleges and universities.
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Build and innovate relationships with businesses
College Personnel & Staff Services (9) Opportunity for faculty to be used by recruitment personal
Scholarship donors
Ease of use/access
Receiving or at least seeking more grants, hire a grant writer.
Need better management learning system to facilitate this
The staff according to the student does a good job helping
Purchase sharing to reduce costs and provide seamless products across all MSCC colleges
Have the schedule out earlier to make students happier.
Long term faculty and staff may also be an opportunity as these employees retire, new opportunities may open up with the employment of people with varied backgrounds.
College Activities (20) Winter activities for students
Good outdoor activities available to do in the area
Places for students to get away from campus and healthy: Nordic heritage center and UMPI Wellness Center
More winter activities---big rock
Bring Subway into café
Having a program that plays sports so younger adults come.
It would be nice to see us do things with UMPI students, like activities and games.
If we hosted more events, the college would be more diverse.
Child care program – Early childhood education care for students children at a discounted price
Winter carnival – games, community fun, raffle, snow activities, sledding/coloring/sculpting/forts
Have actual sports teams offered. Could lead to recruiting students from varying locations. Would help to diversify student population
More involvement w/ events….i.e. fundraisers, community events. Example – Planet Head day at UMPI
Have or hold more events at NMCC to get the public in
Re-introduce sports to give prospects other reasons to be interested in NM
Community events
Event Center = REVENUE
Other (16) Many alumni run businesses and know what we get from our programs
Jobs for the majors
I think that when teachers speak they should mention what is happening in the world
Guaranteed a job right out of college.
Offer new discounts based on attendance, GPA…
Increased focus on local agriculture & food production / sales seems a no-brainer
Use the faculty – they aren’t stupid
Room to expand and serve more students
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Knowledge sharing with other state community colleges
Opportunities for growth in general based on the current state of the college
Introduce new technologies such as classroom smart boards
# of high school graduates who would not otherwise go to college
Grant writing
Grants and other special funding sources that have not yet been tapped. Need a staff member who has experience and can focus on seeking out this type of funding.
Grant writing and funding
Appendix G SWOT Threats-Comments by Theme
Population/Geography (52)
Geographical location
Population decreasing
Decreased population
Less students
Location of the college
Cost and location and how far away things are from the college and how many programs are closing and short term programs are starting up at other schools
Not enough students; need to target downstate
Not having the population in the area that could use NMCC
Number of young people moving out of the area
Lack of students
Younger adults moving away
People are leaving the County because there aren’t enough fun, low-cost activities
Lack of population
Low population
The population in Aroostook County is shrinking year by year. The more businesses that close, the more people move away, the less students applying to NMCC
Declining populations
Dwindling population
Dropping population
Bring people to us – we are “removed” from downtown
Outward migration (2)
Students not ready for college (instant gratification)
Limited diversity, education, ethnic, religion
Limited market over a vast region
Decreased population in the area
Declining population in Aroostook County
Smaller student population
Geographical challenged
Competitors: (41)
UMFK/UMPI offer more flexibility to students through online programs- could take away potential NM students
Online courses (2)
Online Programs: Online degrees are accelerating. I don’t believe adding online programs is necessarily the solution but advertising the personal touch and the value of being on campus in a program
Other colleges will be filling the grad needs of local businesses
Other institutions
Competition w/ Universities UMPI
Competing colleges (even within system) w similar programs
UMPI and Fort Kent
UMPI has a four year nursing program that is easier to get into
Online courses throughout the community college system
UMPI – facility is bigger and nicer cosmetically
Not offering as many majors as other schools
UMPI does more school visits
UMPI and other colleges/universities are offering better deals to international students than NMCC
Better marketing by other colleges
People going to online colleges
Competition from UMPI & Fort Kent
Dual enrollment opportunities available through other institutions
Other institutions using more innovative and technologically advanced ways to communicate with &
entice prospective students
Other higher Ed colleges & universities aggressive recruitment – feel we are not in the race
Online courses now available for most of what we offer
Other community colleges across the state
If we become a 2 year liberal arts college, we will become very susceptible to a merger with the UMaine
Competing Programs-increasing capacity at the various (other) campuses has an impact on recruiting and enrollment
Competitors have a similar product like UMPI and Fort Kent. UMPI seems to have the same classes as we do now in the Business area. Fort Kent has been taking a lot of our Nursing prospects the last few years as well
UMFK Rural U
Other colleges are being forward thinkers and develop new programs to draw students. If we don’t step up to the plate, more students will leave Northern Maine to attend other colleges downstate or out of state.
Online courses from other colleges and universities
UMPI-they are obviously out and about in the community participating in events as a team.
Other competing MCC w/same program
Other colleges and universities
State appropriation (2)
No system President
System wide agenda to replace faculty with adjunct and overloads
Stagnant tuition and fee structure not kept with the pace of living
Lack of funds
University merger always looming
Lack of state funding
Budget concerns (appropriation / legislative)
Inability to sustain program offerings due to cash flow problems from System reticence on allowing a reasonable tuition rate
NMCC’s tuition rate has been locked at $90/ credit hour while UMaine system charges $279 per credit hour
Low tuition rates are not sustainable
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Insufficient state funding
Lack of funding to assure qualified instructors and state of the art equipment/facilities which would help attract students
Bachelor’s degree requirement for nurses
MCCSA-How does the System actually view/value NMCC? Are we disposable?
There is a plan by the state of Maine to try to push 75% of nurses to BSN within the next 10 years. This push may decrease the number of individuals interested in attending our nursing program.
State appropriations not keeping pace with operational cost
Continued political climate from Governor’s Office
Limited state appropriations
Attitudes (29 Comments):
Guidance counselors at H.S. not putting NMCC 1st or as important, viable option
States current attitude about education is negative and results in lack of funding
Fewer high school students staying here or attending NMCC
Guidance counselors at HS not ??????
Difficulty enticing people to stay or to relocate
High school stigma to community colleges
Lack of leadership
Unwillingness to try new things because we think we know the outcome
High schools are pushing kids out of the community by heavily encouraging students to go to UO and other schools they deem better
High school students and others moving away to go to other colleges
PIHS drives students out of community to pursue larger colleges and engineering degrees
“Community college” has a negative stigma and is used to describe lesser educational experience –
change college name
It seems like threatened by being second compared to UMPI since students may o